“I’m a woman
Originally printed in 1978, Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” celebrates the softness and femininity of a woman while proudly displaying and not apologizing for her strength and power.
While most of her pieces are classified as “autobiographical fiction,” as she drew from her experiences as a black woman when neither distinction would allow her to advance much further than what glass ceilings and Jim Crow would allow, how could anyone read that poem and not see Angelou in every verse and every line?
She wasn’t just a poet, just as she wasn’t just the fry cook, prostitute and nightclub dancer she was in a previous life. She wasn’t just a writer, an actor, a speaker, a producer, a professor, a journalist and a lecturer.
She was all those things, yes, but she was more. She was a voice for the voiceless. She was an activist who activated those around her. She offered definition for those struggling to find themselves. She challenged the comfortable to move toward change.
In 1969, when she first published “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” she became the first black woman to truly break barriers in the literary world. The black woman became the central figure in her writings instead of just another cast member or an extra.
“The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”
Angelou wrote about the human condition, in all its majesty and all its flaws. For more than 20 years, though she actively helped to lead the civil rights movement alongside both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X, performed and produced music, art, dance, writings, television and stage dramas, she was only established in a small circle of the intellectual and collegiate worlds.
She actually wasn’t much of a household name until 1993, when she became the first poet to recite a piece at a presidential inauguration since Jack Frost in 1961. The day after President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, sales of copies of her paperback collections skyrocketed. That’s because she instantly spoke to people with the recitation of “On the Pulse of the Morning.” It crossed artificial lines drawn based on race and class and gender and station in life.
Her words would then begin to inspire many generations.
“Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.”
Rest in peace, Maya Angelou. May we be inspired by your words for many, many generations to come.
“I’m a woman
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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- If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is